To Doug Schneider,
While they will never appeal to the sort of audiophiles who already own multiple amplifiers and cables and enjoy swapping them around, I believe that self-powered speakers will become an increasingly important market niche, especially among younger enthusiasts who appreciate quality sound but don’t have room for or want to be bothered with a bunch of heavy components. Besides the obvious convenience, I see a couple of reasons for this trend:
Class-D amplification has matured in recent years to the point it is actually capable of sounding decent above the subwoofer range. The modules are compact, light, and run cool -- ideal for installation in speaker cabinets.
DSP-based crossovers offer the designer far more control over both frequency response and phase than either passive circuits or op-amp-based active analog units, again in a compact and cool-running package. Recent active speakers from Dynaudio and Kii, and now a powered version of the KEF LS50, are capable of delivering true time-aligned, transient-perfect performance with ruler-flat frequency response. You can count on one hand the number of passive speakers that do the former, and they are often compromised in both linearity and efficiency.
I agree! . . . Doug Schneider